For many years, pretty much my whole professional career, I’ve worked at many organisations and companies. And in all of them, I tried to take a fun, side job, challenge, of promoting Drupal, be it inside or outside of said organisations. Because it was a fun thing to do, because I believe in Open Source, and because it was the right thing to do.
When thinking about promoting Drupal outside of the organisation, I was then often confronted with the puzzle of how to do it, and most importantly, who, what entity, what organisation, could be in charge of promoting Drupal outside of the Drupal bubble.
Imagine for example that you are going to a big conference or event, ideally non Drupal related, so you can get as much reach as possible, again, outside of our (Drupal) bubble. As an organisation you are likely going to invest a lot of money and effort on that event. The technology that you are promoting is open source. And that’s a good thing. But as a company, you may that think you don’t own what you are promoting. You can spend hundreds and hundreds of thousands of euros, dollars or pounds in promoting Drupal, investment that is really hard to track and measure as an individual organisation.
Drupal should be at the center when doing this kind of promotion, it needs to be be THE brand to be promoted, there is no question on that. But using the formula of individual companies promoting Drupal has a fundamental issue, which is to justify as a company that your brand is not going to get the right attention for the money that they have invested. At least not as a medium or small company.
This obviously will have the effect of discouraging further promotion of the Open Source brand, sponsoring further events, and hence, the company stops promoting the Drupal brand.
I have thought a lot in the past about this, and the only workable solution I could imagine is that those promotions or events, when done, should be executed by an independent organisation. Some kind entity that could do such promotion, without the need or the urge to leave the event immediately after with customers in their pockets. That doesn’t mean there is no need to find new customers, new interest and generation of new opportunities. That the core, the main goal of course. But that interest, that growth, is distributed, it is a shared benefit for the whole group of players, companies, freelancers and so on in the Drupal industry.
And as such, those costs and efforts should be shared equally amongst all the possible receivers of that growth. Creation of new market opportunities that gets distributed amongst all the players, and expenses that are somehow shared as well. In the end, it needs to be executed by an impartial entity, who has no direct service to offer neither has a hidden interest on getting any of those customers directly.
We may actually have that impartial entity, and I know you are already thinking about it: the Drupal Association.
And the most exciting part of this story is that this is actually happening as I write these lines. The week of November 14th, we, the Drupal Association, joined by a few companies, are going to WebSummit in Lisbon. And as you can guess as well, we are having the immense joy and privilege to represent the technology that I have worked for pretty much my entire career: Drupal.
Yes, ok. We can’t be sure if this is going to work. But that actuall is what marketing is after all. You need to do things, take actions, measure the results, repeat the things that are working, and continue iterating on that formula for success.
What is certain as well is that, if we keep doing the same things, we’ll keep getting the same results. If we keep ignoring that we live in a bubble, we’ll keep being anonymous, unknown, to the vast majority of the internet. We need to leave the bubble. Let’s do this, let’s burst the bubble and let Drupal bloom and flourish. Let’s bring a big, huge needle to WebSummit, and let the world know that we are here. That we have an incredible, consolidated and stable technology, that the world needs to know about it, and that everyone can, needs, to benefit out of it.
Let’s burst the bubble. Let Drupal grow and flourish outside of that bubble. WebSummit Lisbon… we are coming. Drupal is coming. And, hopefully, this is just the first step.
… And, by the way... isn’t the Drupal booth design lovely? 😃